Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

General Scheme of Horse Racing Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2014: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

2:40 pm

Mr. Brendan Gleeson:

In a way, there are two questions involved. First, if the funding derives from integrity activities carried out by the racing regulatory body, the funds will be handed back. Second, in the context of the legislation, as drafted, there is a guarantee that funding will be provided for horse racing and integrity functions. Within the overall context it seems entirely reasonable that when determining what funding is required for integrity services, as it is taxpayers' money that is involved, HRI be able to take into account all sources of funding for the racing regulatory body. In other words, if it receives funding through integrity functions, in determining how much taxpayers money should go in on top of it, it has to have regard to the funding received from these other sources. In practice, how I see the system operating is that the racing regulatory body will make a demand of Horse Racing Ireland. It will present a budget that will explain the various sources of funding and the demands on that funding and then request funding from HRI in order to carry out its functions.

There is also a provision in existing legislation - it is an unusual one, but it is in recognition of the importance of the integrity functions - which allows for an arbitrator to make a determination in the event of a dispute between the racing regulatory body and HRI. The board of HRI is representative. We have three members of the Turf Club and now have three ministerial nominees. The board is broadly representative and there are inherent checks and balances in its structure. There is a variety of protections for the integrity functions.